The Sylph's Ball.

A poem by Thomas Moore

A sylph, as bright as ever sported
Her figure thro' the fields of air,
By an old swarthy Gnome was courted.
And, strange to say, he won the fair.

The annals of the oldest witch
A pair so sorted could not show,
But how refuse?--the Gnome was rich,
The Rothschild of the world below;

And Sylphs, like other pretty creatures,
Are told, betimes, they must consider
Love as an auctioneer of features,
Who knocks them down to the best bidder.

Home she was taken to his Mine--
A Palace paved with diamonds all--
And, proud as Lady Gnome to shine,
Sent out her tickets for a ball.

The lower world of course was there,
And all the best; but of the upper
The sprinkling was but shy and rare,--
A few old Sylphids who loved supper.

As none yet knew the wondrous Lamp
Of DAVY, that renowned Aladdin,
And the Gnome's Halls exhaled a damp
Which accidents from fire were had in;

The chambers were supplied with light
By many strange but safe devices;
Large fire-flies, such as shine at night
Among the Orient's flowers and spices;--

Musical flint-mills--swiftly played
By elfin hands--that, flashing round,
Like certain fire-eyed minstrel maids,
Gave out at once both light and sound.

Bologna stones that drink the sun;
And water from that Indian sea,
Whose waves at night like wildfire run--
Corked up in crystal carefully.

Glow-worms that round the tiny dishes
Like little light-houses, were set up;
And pretty phosphorescent fishes
That by their own gay light were eat up.

'Mong the few guests from Ether came
That wicked Sylph whom Love we call--
My Lady knew him but by name,
My Lord, her husband, not at all.

Some prudent Gnomes, 'tis said, apprised
That he was coming, and, no doubt
Alarmed about his torch, advised
He should by all means be kept out.

But others disapproved this plan,
And by his flame tho' somewhat frighted,
Thought Love too much a gentleman
In such a dangerous place to light it.

However, there he was--and dancing
With the fair Sylph, light as a feather;
They looked like two fresh sunbeams glancing
At daybreak down to earth together.

And all had gone off safe and well,
But for that plaguy torch whose light,
Though not yet kindled--who could tell
How soon, how devilishly, it might?

And so it chanced--which, in those dark
And fireless halls was quite amazing;
Did we not know how small a spark
Can set the torch of Love a-blazing.

Whether it came (when close entangled
In the gay waltz) from her bright eyes,
Or from the lucciole, that spangled
Her locks of jet--is all surmise;

But certain 'tis the ethereal girl
Did drop a spark at some odd turning,
Which by the waltz's windy whirl
Was fanned up into actual burning.

Oh for that Lamp's metallic gauze,
That curtain of protecting wire,
Which DAVY delicately draws
Around illicit, dangerous fire!--

The wall he sets 'twixt Flame and Air,
(Like that which barred young Thisbe's bliss,)
Thro' whose small holes this dangerous pair
May see each other but not kiss.

At first the torch looked rather bluely,--
A sign, they say, that no good boded--
Then quick the gas became unruly.
And, crack! the ball-room all exploded.

Sylphs, gnomes, and fiddlers mixt together,
With all their aunts, sons, cousins, nieces,
Like butterflies in stormy weather,
Were blown--legs, wings, and tails--to pieces!

While, mid these victims of the torch,
The Sylph, alas, too, bore her part--
Found lying with a livid scorch
As if from lightning o'er her heart!

* * * * *

"Well done"--a laughing Goblin said--
Escaping from this gaseous strife--
"'Tis not the first time Love has made
"A blow-up in connubial life!"

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